Tag Archives: grace

The Happiness Lie Part 2: Enduring to the End

This is Part 2 of a 2-part post. Part 1 talked about the path to true happiness and can be read here.

 

“Endure to the end” is a common phrase found in LDS terminology. The dictionary definition of endure means to suffer patiently or to remain in existence. So it’s common to view the term in a negative way.  However, when applied to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to endure is a very positive thing. As briefly introduced in Part 1, endurance and happiness can be misconceived as opposites. I would like to use Part 2 to show how we can find happiness in the face of enduring to the end.

 

When I was younger I took swimming lessons at my local recreation center. During the final level of lessons, Level 7 (which took a few years to get to), I dreamed of getting on the swim team. I didn’t pass Level 7 the first time around, and my coach told my mom it was because I didn’t have enough endurance that passing required. I took Level 7 again, and passed the second time, but barely. The coach took pity on me and moved the brick from 12 feet to 6 feet so that I could succeed in diving to the bottom of the pool and bringing the brick to the surface – so I guess I didn’t really pass, the coach accommodated for me. The word endurance was brought up frequently that it was something that I didn’t have, so I didn’t attempt the swim team, and I hated the word endurance.

 

Luckily for people like me, it is spiritual endurance, not physical endurance, that God asks us to have. But why do we have to endure, or suffer patiently, if the gospel is supposed to bring us happiness? Because outside forces, such as temptations, trials, and the actions of others can affect our happiness. This is where enduring to the end comes in. All of the scriptures that talk about enduring to the end promise that those who endure to the end will be saved and receive eternal life. However, each scripture also couples enduring to the end with other aspects of living the gospel. This leads me to believe that in order to successfully endure the tribulations of the world, we must be living the gospel as fully as we can.

Continue reading

6 Lessons Learned from the Woman Caught in Adultery

woman-taken-in-adultery-948857-gallery

When the topics of sin, repentance, and judgment are discussed, the story of Christ’s encounter with the woman caught in adultery (see John 8:1-11) is a common example. Many times, however, this example is misused to advocate for sin. Those who preach the truth and defend Christ’s doctrine are often accused of being judgmental and are told, “Jesus said, ‘those who are without sin cast the first stone,’ and “Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery.”

While these statements are true to an extent, they have been taken out of context. When talking about casting stones, Jesus wasn’t telling people to stop preaching about sin and repentance.  He was telling people to stop judging that woman. The second statement, however, has been misunderstood. Jesus did not forgive her right away because she hadn’t repented yet. Rather, He was stating that He didn’t condemn her, and He was offering her an invitation to repent. These two statements are often used to spread the message that if we want to be like Christ, we will keep our mouths shut and tell everyone they are doing good no matter what they do, but if we preach about sin and repentance we are being like the Pharisees. The story of the woman caught in adultery goes so much deeper than that. It is a beautiful story that teaches many wonderful lessons. Here are six lessons we can learn from this story: Continue reading

Faith, Worship and Overcoming Weakness

worshipWe worship God as the supreme act of faith in Jesus Christ. The commandment to do so, I believe, is equal to the first principle of the gospel: faith in Jesus Christ; the Giver of all commandments. To worship God is to have faith in His Plan made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ; acknowledging our complete dependence and gratitude for both in order to overcome the world and receive the crowning blessing of Exaltation.

It is only by the grace of God, made possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that we are able to repent of sin, overcome personal weakness and eventually become perfected. Grace is a power beyond that of the natural man. Grace enables us to accomplish that which we, left to ourselves, could never do.

Without grace, there would be no hope.

With this understanding then, how important is our faith in relation to obtaining grace? I believe it’s everything; it is the foundation upon which we are enabled to act according to God’s laws of progression. Continue reading

Miracles Happen: The Story of Ron and John

the rest of the storyI told a miracle story, several years ago, thinking it “was the rest of the story,” but eternity is funny that way. Life continues and will continue forever. Ron’s and John’s story is an example of just how eternal eternity really is.

The original story can be read here, but I’d like to tell you more of this story, and what it really means to me, even though I now believe it is far from over. The rest of the story will surely continue, as all of our own personal stories will.

Continue reading

Grace: How it Works For Me

rp_second-coming-300x300.jpgGrace and works are not opposing principles. Often they are treated that way, yet as we make an effort to understand how they work together we will begin to understand the beauty and the power of Plan of Salvation, how agency of man plays an important role, and how grace works toward our salvation.

The two opposing views are typically stated as follows:

  1. God loves all of His children and that through Grace gifted by the atonement, God will save all of His children no matter how much they obeyed on Earth.
  2. Those who were saved were saved through their obedience alone.

View 1

“God loves all of His children and that through Grace gifted by the atonement, God will save all of His children no matter how much they obeyed on Earth.” Continue reading

Faith Crisis: Is it all in your head?

LDS writer Nick Galieti has written an insightful and thoughtful article about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who might be struggling with some aspects of their faith. He offers his thoughts on this topic for individuals in this situation, and provides timely advice to family members and friends of those experiencing a “faith crisis” (link to full text here).

“Over the past few years, the term “faith crisis” has become used as a war cry of those disaffected with the church, as well as those who are engaged in an honest search for answers to challenging questions about their faith. As a result, when someone says they are going through a “faith crisis,” it’s hard to know if that person is saying they hate the church and want to leave, or they still believe the church in spite of some dissonance they may be currently experiencing – or somewhere in between. This wide application of the term can cause one to wonder, what does “faith crisis” really mean, and therefore how are people supposed to respond to someone declaring that they are experiencing one?

Please click here to read the full article.

Understanding Grace

christus-hand-lds-454936-galleryWe believe in the grace of God. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in Grace just like most other Christian denominations. Yet, unlike most Christian denominations, we take this scripture found in James 2:17- 20 literally.

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

That scripture tells us that what we do, not just what we believe, has an effect on the outcome of our salvation.

Trying to Understand Grace

I have heard a couple of interpretations of this scripture commonly espoused in Church classes and among Church members. Sometimes I have been told that if I do my best, then Jesus will take care of the rest and nothing more will be required. Other times I have been told that it really does not matter how good I am or what I do, that Jesus has already paid the price. So I get baptized, attend Church, and try not to commit any major sins—beyond that I simply need to believe and not fret about my salvation. Worrying about salvation, I have been taught, is not having faith in the atonement of Christ.

These interpretations, while they seem nice and frankly easy, do not fit in with the scriptures nor with everyone’s personal experiences. Then what is the truth? Continue reading

Honoring Christ’s Atonement by Living His Gospel

SaviorTrying to fully explain the wondrous and miraculous gift that was given to all the world through Jesus Christ’s Atonement is like trying to explain the unexplainable—it can’t be done. However, each individual can honor that Atonement by keeping the Lord’s commandments and living His gospel to the very best of her/his ability.

In my own case, and in the words of the hymn, “I Stand All Amazed,” I literally marvel and can hardly believe “that He would descend from His throne divine, to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.” (Hymn #193). Yet Jesus, the God and creator of every living thing, the only perfect and sinless individual to walk the face of the earth, willingly took upon himself the sins of the entire world. He had the power to back out anytime if He wanted, but chose not to because He knew His full purpose, and fulfilled it. Continue reading

Eucharisteo – Thanksgiving

family-kneeling-prayer-889739-printThis time of year when grateful hearts turn into giving hands, my scripture study focuses on thanksgiving and the commandment we are given to be grateful. Gratitude is not just a commandment from the Lord, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” (D&C 59:7) It is a commandment with a promise, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” (D&C 78:19) How is it that gratitude has the potential to make us glorious? To find out, I look to the example Jesus Christ set.

There are only three recorded occasions in the Bible where Jesus offers thanks or eucharisteo.¹ Eucharisteo is the original Greek word used and means thanksgiving. ²  In each instance Christ offers eucharisteo before a miracle is performed. Digging further into the etymology of eucharisteo and how it is used in the Bible one gains even greater insight into not only the miracles Christ performed, but how they each fit together to point us to Him. Looking at the miracles simultaneously provides deep meaning for our lives. Eucharisteo comes from two root words. Charis meaning grace and chara meaning joy. These intertwine reminding us that it is through the atoning grace of Jesus Christ that our joy will be full.

Continue reading